Auckland War Memorial Museum
Sitting amid the serene surroundings of Auckland Domain, the Auckland War Memorial Museum is an impressive structure regarded as one of the finest heritage buildings in the country and now the first museum in the world to achieve CEMARS certification (Certified Emissions Measurement And Reduction Scheme). The museum’s sustainability engineer, Karl Satchell, says certification was sought to get an independent audited benchmark of the museum’s greenhouse gas footprint. Built in 1929, with additions made over the years, it had become an energy hungry operation through efforts to provide the stable temperatures and humidity required to preserve thetaonga (museum treasures). Its original design to be naturally ventilated resulted in air infiltration; which effectively meant the museum was pushing out conditioned air to the rest of Auckland and contributing to its hefty $1million a year energy bill. “It was a wind tunnel, positive air pressure at one end, negative pressure at the other end,” says the museum’s building facilities manager John Glen. “We also had embedded problems with our air-conditioning energy control systems.” Following an energy audit – supported by the Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority (EECA) and under CEMARS – a globally recognised scheme – the museum initially committed to reducing its carbon footprint by 5 per cent over five years. But with changes to energy systems and the introduction of hi-tech meters and monitoring features, it’s already well exceeded its target in the first year. Glen now predicts they can achieve a 20 per cent reduction. In full, the overhaul has led to more convivial spaces for the inquisitive, considerable savings and a new sustainable conscience – one which Glen says is now fundamental to how the museum moves forward.